So, the "wish list" part of the person centred plan was ditched because all the things that Steven wanted included on it were refused. But not before, the managers suggested we have another bash at it and I come up with some things that Steven might like from a plan and they would consider those. If it wasn't so compemptuous it would have been laughable. A person centred plan - suggested by me and sanctioned by the authorities - nothing to do with Steven at all. The two managers from the Unit came to visit me and I could see they had an embarrassing dilemma - they had been told that person centred plans were the best things since sliced bread but as this experience was showing, the way that Hillingdon operates couldn't be more at odds with all the basic principles of person centredness. Their whole approach to social care was (is) system centred.
Undeterred, the managers suggested that we work on the other aspect of a person centred plan - the life story book. A collection of photos, videos and stories that would help the person with "the narrative" of their life.
This set enormous alarm bells ringing. I sounded remarkably similar to the life story books that are compiled when someone is adopted - Steven still regularly read his from 1994. All the talk at this time was about the council's tendering process for Steven's ongoing care. It was terrifying.
Having said all that, I decided to go along with it for three reasons. Firstly, I knew by now that we would end up in court at some point and I thought the videos might be useful evidence to show the judge. They would balance the picture that Hillingdon were painting of Steven. Secondly, I knew that Steven would like it. He's a bit of a performer and he would enjoy watching the videos back. And the final reason, and one I was really struggling with, was that if Hillingdon get their way, it will be the only thing that Steven would have left about his homelife. He would never be able to see his friends and family again, so perhaps a historical video record was the next best thing.
We spent two weeks, videoing like mad. Everywhere Steven went, every home visit was recorded and I downloaded all the footage in case Hillingdon tried to edit the videos unfavourably. Two weeks later, I gave the camera back and that's the last we ever heard of a person centred plan.
Person centredness (Hillingdon's version of it) entered our lives for three weeks and fizzled out three weeks later.